Losing weight doesn’t have to be an intimidating task that requires drastic measures. You can shed pounds without going on a diet by incorporating simple changes into your daily routine.
For instance, making healthy choices such as eating a nutritious breakfast and moving your body every day is a great start to feeling more energized and achieving your weight loss goals.
You can also plan ahead by stocking your pantry with healthy ingredients to prevent junk food binges after a long day.
You don’t have to overhaul your entire eating routine or spend hours at the gym to see results. Here are some practical tips to help you achieve sustainable weight loss quickly, which may even inspire your loved ones to join you on the journey.
1. Temptation-proof your kitchen
Start by tossing the treats you simply can’t resist overdoing — whether that’s cookies, ice cream, chips, or soda. You’re more likely to reach for unhealthy snacks if you have them, according to Rutgers. In the pantry, stash healthier fare you want to eat only in moderation (nut butters, crackers, popcorn, etc.).
2. Keep healthy foods in sight
Put a big bowl of fruit on the counter, store fresh vegetables on refrigerator shelves instead of hidden in the crisper, and pour whole grains and dried beans into clear jars.
3. Have good-for-you snacks handy
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a couple of dates stuffed with almonds, or indulge a salt craving with a slice of turkey jerky. Nuts have even been linked to weight loss and reducing the risk of heart disease.
4. Make breakfast easy
Figure out one or two quick, nutritious choices you can grab every morning, like homemade energy bars. Or try a protein smoothie with frozen fruit, some fresh greens, 1 Tbsp of chia seeds, and a small container of plain 2% Greek yogurt.
5. Concoct a backup plan
We all have nights when we’re too tired to cook. Stock your kitchen with ingredients you can transform into a fast meal, like vegetable fried rice, or whole-wheat pasta tossed with steamed frozen Brussels sprouts, walnuts, and a little olive oil.
6. Try dinner for breakfast
Give your body the nutrients it needs to power through your day in the morning instead of before you go to sleep. Stuff a whole-wheat quesadilla with shredded chicken, avocado slices, and Monterey Jack cheese and top it with salsa. Or try cold whole-grain pasta: Not only is it a time saver, but its carbs are converted into appetite-suppressing fiber instead of sugars. Top leftover pasta primavera or marinara with a fried egg. Then, downsize your dinner and serve yourself appetizer-size portions in the evening. Good picks include a small piece of vegetable lasagna or a couple of grilled-fish tacos.
7. Eat only when the sun is up
Research suggests that allowing at least 12 hours between dinner and the next day’s breakfast may help speed weight loss; it may let you burn through unneeded fat stores faster or improve the body’s ability to use insulin. Have dinner earlier, or breakfast later — or both!
8. Make vegetables the focus of your plate
Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables such as asparagus, kale, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms, and eggplant. Then divide the remainder of the plate in half and fill each quarter with a serving of lean protein and fiber-rich complex carbs.
9. Work appetite-curbing protein into every meal
Think salmon, shrimp, chicken breast, tofu, and eggs. And don’t forget beans: For an instant protein fix, fold lentils into rice, black beans into quinoa, or chickpeas into veggie soup.
10. Choose carbs in their natural form
Eat at least two daily servings of minimally processed fiber-rich carbohydrates such as whole-wheat bread or pasta, brown rice, quinoa, and steel-cut oats. That’s as easy as 1 cup of whole-grain cereal for an afternoon snack or a ½-cup scoop of brown rice with a dinnertime stir-fry.